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Majestically poised along Tampa Bay, the iconic Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club has earned a reputation as the “grand dame” of St.Petersburg’s hotels. For more than 90 years, the historic luxury resort has welcomed notable families, Hollywood stars, presidents and dignitaries from around the globe. When the hotel opened on New Year’s Eve 1925, the guests marveled at the intrinsically carved stone columns, an enormous lobby with hand-painted tile accents, and massive chandeliers suspended from a 25-foot ceiling. Today, guests can still find mementos of those legendary days, such as worn tiles near the check-in desk where storied luminaries once stood.

Now the landmark hotel is ushering in a multi-phased renovation project that will infuse a new design renaissance revival into the crown jewel, preserving and celebrating the rich history with some modern enhancements. The transformation aims to cater to today’s sophisticated and affluent travelers who seek a rich, luxurious setting at a resort with a host of modern amenities that enhances their stay.

The new design theme, conceptualized by Miriam Torres, is an artistic blend of different palettes of color, mixed with architectural elements inspired by ethnic impressions. While color is visually appealing, texture and lighting also play a key role, explains Torres, principal designer with Parker-Torres Design Inc. of Sudbury, Massachusetts.

Photo mood boards courtesy of Parker-Torres Design

The Vinoy’s owners awarded the project to Torres, who has been redesigning historic and luxury properties around the globe for 32 years, after seeing her work at the Fairmont Copley hotel in downtown Boston.

“We wanted to give a nod to the sophisticated interior and classic view with concepts influenced by Arabic and Moroccan influences. Our inspiration for many of the themes came from the hotel’s opening night in 1925, a fantasy-like setting with massive chandeliers hanging from the vaulted ceilings and bricks at the entranceway,” she says.

After spending months researching, reading books about the Vinoy’s history and the family, and spending hours walking around and sitting in the lobby, Torres conceptualized a new interior theme that was fresh and timeless while giving a nod to the sophistication of the 1920’s.

“My designs are not what I want; it’s what the property requires to transform and bring back. I go there and become part of it [the hotel] and it helps me visualize the changes,” adds Torres. “It is very unique.”

“The new interior design positions the Vinoy as both historic and hip as well as elevates the comfort and sophistication of the resort that our members have come to expect,” says Barbara Readey, General Manager.

Photo mood boards courtesy of Parker-Torres Design

The first phase of the project, which began in May, focuses on the amenities at Snell Isle. Enhancements include a redesigned pool with cabanas, fire pits, and outdoor amenities drenched in glamorous white, hunter green and black with a separate kids’ splash pad. The redesigned and expanded clubhouse restaurant will reveal notable touches like columns wrapped in red leather with cross stitching, personal liquor lockers at the back of the room, and light fixtures that resemble golf balls.

There will be high-top tables with connectivity outlets for those who need to stay plugged in. The resort’s 18-hole, par 71 golf course and practice facility will also get an update, undergoing drainage and other improvements.

Perhaps the most striking design will take place in the men and women’s locker rooms. The men’s side, dressed in slick black and gray with brass accents, will have pocket tables and a long bar. The plush leather chairs are designed to feel luxurious and encourage conversation and mingling. For women, Torres chose a theme of white marble with light shades of aqua, with bridge tables with bamboo influence in the chairs.

Like every artist who leaves a lingering impression in their work, Torres leaves an indeclinable footprint in her interior designs. Custom designed luxurious carpet, often awash in a myriad of colors, is her signature look.

Photo mood boards courtesy of Parker-Torres Design

“I love creating custom carpets because I like to paint and it’s one of the few things I can do that’s like painting. It has been my biggest trademark in all my projects. They are wool, handmade and wall-to-wall carpets, especially for grand rooms. I love doing that – it’s my passion!” says Torres. This phase of the renovation project will continue through early 2017.

Further classic elegant enhancements are on the drawing board to make changes to the parking area, fitness center, spa, tennis courts and replacing Alfrescos restaurant with a new dining concept.

Like no other hotel of its kind that has cemented its place among historical hotels, the enhanced vibrancy of the Vinoy will continue to be a destination on its own and compliment the demands for the next generation of travelers.

Like no other hotel of its kind that has cemented its place among historical hotels, the enhanced vibrancy of the Vinoy will continue to be a destination on its own and compliment the demands for the next generation of travelers.

Photo courtesy of The Vinoy Renaissance Resort: Ground Breaking Ceremony

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